Tips for packing in a carry-on bag

Cover photo via

I am really not a diva. I promise. I love to camp and hike and do other outdoorsy things. I can get ready in 10 minutes if need be (if need be; I would rather have 30 of course!). I’ve never been one to carry a huge purse with everything I or anyone else might ever need. I can pack a light carry-on for weekend trips like nobody’s business because I’m good at bringing exactly what I need and nothing extra.

However, when it comes to a vacation of more than five or six days (or heaven forbid, two weeks), I panic. I don’t know why, but I do a 180 and feel like I need to pack my entire closet. I have found myself the night before a vacation sitting in the middle of a pile of clothes more times than I care to admit.

Me sitting in the middle of a pile of clothes before a ski trip
Me sitting in the middle of a pile of clothes before one of our ski trips – fortunately, you can’t see the panic on my face since I am turned away!

I’m not sure how to explain this phenomenon, but if I had to guess, it has to do with photos/social media. I don’t want to wear the same thing every day of vacation because I know I’ll be taking photos every day. Also, (and understandably, I think!) I’m not a huge fan of re-wearing my clothes when I have been wearing them all day, particularly in hot weather. And finally, I don’t enjoy wasting my time with laundry while on vacation. (Note: If you are studying abroad or backpacking for a longer length of time, you are probably going to have to suck it up and do laundry!)

Enter pinterest and genius bloggers to save the day. I tested out one of their travel plans (I obviously customized with my clothes) on our recent trip to Ireland/London and it really worked! I couldn’t believe that I could actually pack “light” for a two-week trip. All it takes is a little more thought and a little more time (aka DON’T start packing the night before!).

Here are a few of my favorite guides to packing light:

Of course, you can substitute your own items like I did for our Ireland/England trip and just customize it based on the number of wears.

There are several bonuses to packing light for vacation. Mainly, it makes traveling easier. It’s also financially practical with the rising costs of checking bags when flying these days. I hope these links are helpful. Do you have a packing routine that you swear by? If so, please let me know! I am going to do my very best to pack for our week-long Peru trip in only a carry-on bag!

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